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Top Questions to Ask a Small Business Consultant Before Hiring Them

Top Questions to Ask to a Business Consultant

A small business consultant provides expert advice and support to small businesses to help them improve their operations, solve problems, and achieve their business goals. Marino Sussich has been consulting with small businesses in Melbourne, Australia, for over 25 years. He believes it’s important to undertake due diligence before hiring anyone in your business. The following information will help you ask the right questions before you embark on a professional relationship with a small business consultant.

Small business consultant knowledge and experience

Hiring someone to help you drive your business success is crucial for all business owners. With so many business consultants available, it can take time to determine which is best for you. Marino Robert Sussich suggests you ask the following five questions about their knowledge, background and experience:

1. Business Planning and Strategy:

a. What business plans have you developed over the last few years?
b. What industries have you worked in?
c. How have you helped your clients achieve short, medium and long-term goals?
d. How do you identify growth opportunities?

2. Financial Management:

a. What tools do you use to analyse financial statements and performance metrics?
b. Can you offer advice on budgeting and financial forecasting?
c. Do you have experience with funding and capital-raising strategies?

3. Marketing and Sales:

a. What examples of marketing plans and strategies to increase brand awareness and sales can you provide?
b. Can you advise on digital marketing, social media, and traditional marketing techniques?

4. IT and Technology Solutions:

a. Can you recommend technology solutions to improve business operations?
b. Do you advise on cybersecurity and data protection?

5. Growth and Expansion:

a. Do you have experience advising on expansion strategies, including entering new markets?
b. Do you help your clients with mergers, acquisitions, franchise development, and management?

What knowledge and experience does the small business consultant have?

Once you’ve determined the prospective small business consultant has the knowledge and experience that suits your requirements, it’s time to consider the type of services they can offer. Marino Sussich suggests you use the key questions below:

1. Small Business Services:

  • What specific services do you offer tailored for small businesses? This is important to consider because some consultants claim they have small business experience but only have experience working with medium or large companies.

2. Track Record and References:

  • Does the small business consultant have case studies or success stories they are happy to share from past clients? 
  • Do they have references from previous clients they’re happy you can contact?
  • Does the business consultant have measurable results they have achieved for other businesses?

3. Cost and Engagement Terms:

  • What is your fee structure (hourly, project-based, retainer)? Understanding how the small business consultant charges for their services is vital to determine if it suits your business.
  • Are there any additional costs to be aware of?
  • Do you have expected timelines for the consulting engagement?

4. Communication and Reporting:

  • How often will we meet or communicate during the engagement? Some business consultants check in daily, while others do so weekly. It’s essential that the reporting and communication align with your expectations.
  • What kind of reports or updates will you provide?
  • How do you handle feedback and adjustments during the consulting process?

5. Tools and Resources:

  • What tools or methodologies do you use in your consulting practice?
  • Can you provide any resources or training for my team?
  • How do you stay updated with the latest trends and best practices in consulting?

6. Conflict of Interest and Confidentiality:

  • Do you have any conflicts of interest with my business or industry?
  • How do you ensure the confidentiality of my business information?
  • Can you provide a confidentiality agreement or NDA?

7. Outcome and Success Measurement:

  • How do you define and measure the success of a consulting engagement?
  • What key performance indicators (KPIs) will you track?
  • How do you ensure that the recommendations are implemented effectively?

8. Support and Follow-Up:

  • Do you offer any follow-up support after the initial engagement? If so, what do you offer?
  • Can you assist with implementation and training if needed?

Marino Sussich: Melbourne small business consultant

Marino Sussich’s professional journey as a small business consultant with over 25 years of experience. Drawing upon his deep understanding of diverse business environments, locally and internationally, he’s passionate about helping businesses achieve their goals. Book a no-obligation initial conversation with Marino Robert Sussich here.